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The Pet Blog represents the contributions of all of the on-staff pet experts at That Fish Place – That Pet Place. Contact us with the links here or leave a comment.


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Assistance Dogs: Facts & Resources on These Amazing Animals!

Assistance Dog
It’s no secret that dogs are known as “man’s best friend”. On a daily basis our dogs (cats and other furry & feathered friends, too!) provide us with unconditional love and loyalty thus making a positive impact on our lives. The therapeutic and healing benefits of a canine’s companionship are next to none, simply petting a dog can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. This trait, along with their amazing trainability is what makes them so successful at being assistance dogs and aiding those with disabilities. With the help of hardworking and devoted assistance dogs, individuals with physical, emotional and mental disabilities are able to experience an enhanced quality of life.
 

3 Types of Assistance Dogs

While formal training standards for guide dogs have been established for over 70 years, the use of assistance dogs alongside individuals with physical and mental disabilities is a more modern concept. Nevertheless, hardworking assistance dogs of all types significantly impact their partners’ lives in many ways every single day.

Guide Dog

Guide Dogs: For individuals who are blind or visually impaired. In public, a guide dog can be identified by a harness and U-shaped handle which promotes communication between the assistance dog and their partner. In this team, the human’s role is to provide verbal commands, while the dog ensures their partner’s safety by avoiding obstacles, signaling changes in elevation, locating objects, negotiating traffic and so on.

Hearing Dogs: For individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. Hearing dogs assist by alerting their partners to household sounds, such as doorbells, alarm clocks, smoke alarms, a crying baby and more. They are trained specifically to make physical contact and lead deaf partners to the source of sounds.

Service Dogs: Service Dog is a broad term for canines who support partners with disabilities other than those related to vision or hearing. These dogs can be specially trained to handle a multitude of situations related to improving their partner’s well-being. Service dogs can work with wheelchair bound individuals, those with autism and also those with other medical concerns to perform potential lifesaving duties. Service dogs can also aid those seeking emotional support. A veteran may find that an assistance dog has a huge, positive impact on their quality of life by providing them with stability & comfort after returning from overseas.

Among many others, here are a few tasks specially trained service dogs can help with:

  • Retrieving out-of-reach items
  • Pulling wheelchairs
  • Opening & closing doors
  • Turning light switches on & off
  • Barking to indicate assistance is needed
  • Providing balance & counterbalance
  • Seizure alert & response- Dogs trained to operate push button device to call 911, etc.
  • Alerting to other medical issues, such as low blood sugar- Dogs trained to fetch insulin kit or respiratory assist device if necessary.

 

Assistance Dog Standards

service-dog-1396291Assistance dogs, their trainers, partners and associated programs are held to a high level of standards that are crucial for defining what an assistance dog is. After completing screenings for emotional soundness, physical health and working ability, the dogs must complete labor-intensive training plans which include obedience and task work, such as retrieving, carrying, nose nudge and harness based tasks among many others. Once training is complete, assistance dogs are matched to best suit the needs of their partner and must show they are capable of performing the tasks deemed necessary to alleviate their partner’s disabilities. In turn, assistance dog partners must be able to provide their assistance dog with a secure living environment as well as take responsibility for the dog’s emotional, physical and financial needs.

While many service dog programs use Golden retrievers and Labradors, there are many other examples of breeds that have been successfully trained in aiding individuals with disabilities. The partner and their type of disabilities is a large deciding factor in what type of dog they will be matched with. Breed, size, shape and color aside, a good service dog is very people oriented, not protective or overly active and is confident, but not dominant or submissive.
 

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in applying for an assistance dog, training an assistance dog or helping to educate others about these specially trained animals, check out the resources below.

  • Assistance Dogs International
    ADI is a coalition of not for profit assistance dog organizations. If you are interested in applying for an assistance dog, you can find resources from Assistance Dogs International to locate programs in your local area.
  • Celebrate International Assistance Dog Week
    This website is a comprehensive resource about International Assistance Dog Week (August 2nd through the 8th). Locate events in your area to help celebrate & raise awareness about assistance dogs.
  • Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services
    Do you know an organization or individual who could benefit greatly from some therapy dog interaction? KPETS, out of Lancaster, PA, is a network of therapy teams that provide therapeutic and supportive benefits to those with disabilities through human to animal interactions. These services are provided to organizations and/or individuals in need free of charge.
  • Phoenix Assistance Dogs of Central PA
    Interested in training an assistance dog? Phoenix Assistance Dogs is a community program created to locate and train puppies to help those in need. PAD can also help individuals in finding and training their own assistance dog if they wish.

Sources:
http://www.iaadp.org/tasks.html
http://www.servicedogcentral.org/content/
http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org/
http://www.assistancedogweek.org/
http://www.kpets.org/
http://padcentral.org/

Images:
Service Dog © Found Animals Foundation | Flickr
Service Dog with Wheelchair © betta5 | freeimages.com
Guide Dog © Leonardo Tote | freeimages.com

 

Water Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Summertime is full of opportunities for most of us to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather. But as we all know, that searing summer sun can be intense and in the search for some reprieve we often find ourselves poolside, in local stream, river, lake, or on the beach. If you’re like me, you likely have your pet along too. My pup is a water-lover; if there is a way for her to get wet she will be. While it’s always fun having her along to play or go for a swim, it’s also important to keep any pet’s safety in mind while on, in, or near water.  Here are some things to keep in mind as you splash through summer with your favorite four-legged companion.

 

Does Your Pet Like The Water?

The first thing to think about (especially if this is the firstdoesyourpetlikewaterseason you’ll be taking your pet in or near water) is that not all pets can swim, swim well, or want to swim. While some dogs seem like they were born to swim and take to it immediately, others struggle with fear of the water, panic in the water, or even find themselves in peril due to their own physiology. In my experience, toy breeds tend to be less than enthusiastic about water. I’m sure there are exceptions to my observations, but in general they have no interest and may even tremble at the sight. Likewise, breeds and mixes with thick bodies, short legs, cropped/short tails, and short snouts are prone to being terrible swimmers. Though they may be interested in swimming, you may find that it just doesn’t work out for them without a little help and constant supervision. You may consider purchasing a life vest to help to keep your pet afloat. Never force your dog into the water. Allow them to approach and investigate on their own under close supervision. If he or she seems anxious or scared, water play may not be for your pet, and taking them into the water may only increase that fear or anxiety.  Some pets like to take a quick dip, others may stay in the water all day if you let them. You can usually tell when it’s time to take a rest just by the way your pet is holding himself. Know when it’s time to wrap up play time, especially when the temperatures soar to avoid over exertion.

Other conditions may also make it hard for pets to partake in water activities. Small dogs and dogs with little or no fur can become cold quickly, even in warmer water. Older dogs and dogs with pre-existing heart, joint, ear or skin conditions could have flare-up after going for a swim.
 

Check Your Surroundings

My pet and I tend to seek out freshwater rivers, streams,checksurroundings and lakes to cool off. When you take your pet somewhere
to swim (no matter where) be sure to look around the area.  Posted signs such as “no swimming” signs should not just apply to you, but to your pet as well as there may be unseen safety hazards.  Avoid bodies of water that smell bad or may be prone to farm waste, roadway runoff or other contaminants that may be harmful to you or your pet.  Also be aware of potential hazards in the shallows or on the shore such as broken glass, fishing line/hooks, sharp rocks or branches, and other potential hazards.  Be sure the area you choose has slow current and areas where he or she can reach the bottom or the shore easily to take a breather.
 
 
If you live near the coast, you may be lucky enough to take your dog to the beach for playtime. It’s particularly important to pay attention to wildlife and water condition warnings at these locations. Strong tides, waves and undercurrents can pull your pet under or carry them out into deeper water. Jellyfish and other sea life (such as toxic pufferfish), alive or dead, may be washed onto the shore and can make a pet sick or inflict other injuries.
 

Boat Safety

Some pet owners even take their pets boating. Pets should boatsafety
be acclimated to traveling on watercraft before you embark.
The motion of the water rocking the boat may cause them to feel unstable and nauseated and it may cause nervousness and anxiety. The sound of the boat motor may also frighten some pets, so make sure your pet isn’t alarmed when the motor is started or changes pitch. Once they’re accustomed to the new sounds and sensations, be sure to observe the same boat safety for your dog as you do for yourself and other passengers. Invest in a pet life jacket in case your pet jumps or falls overboard.  Keep tackle and other potentially harmful objects and materials out of the dog’s reach to avoid injury or ingestion. Provide plenty of fresh cool water and a place for your pet to get out of the direct sun. Sunscreen for pets and eye protection such as doggles or a doggie visor are also recommended supplies,
especially for repeated or longer trips.
 

Pool Precautions

Some of you may have a pool in the backyard. If you allowpoolprecautions your dog to take a dip on hot days, teach him how to get out of the pool on his own by helping him up the stairs or ladder a few times. Make sure he knows where the way out is and that he can get out on his own!  Keep fresh-chlorine free water near the pool on the deck or patio so he doesn’t take to drinking to pool water. The chlorine and other chemicals that keep the pool crystal clear can give your pet quite a tummy ache.
 
 
 
 
 
 

When Playtime is Done

When your day of fun is done, rinse or shampoo your dog toplaytimedone remove pool chemicals, salt and other residue from his skin and coat.  Take care to clean and dry his ears to avoid ear infections. Even a well-conditioned swimmer will be sure to sleep well after a day in the water, your pet may even be a little stiff and sore if he doesn’t have a workout like that often. Rest assured that in a day or two he’ll be ready for his next swim session!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Common Pet Parasites and Pests – Warm Weather Worries

Parasites can afflict pets any time of the year, however during the spring and summer months, they tend to be more prevalent. Our pets spend a lot more time outside when the weather is warm, and parasites breed more readily. Even if your pets spend all or most of their time indoors, it is possible for parasites to find them whether carried in on our clothes or by crawling through our screen doors. Here are some common parasites to look out for and ways to combat them this summer. Read More »

Rabbits Vs Guinea Pigs: Which is Better For Kids?

Hi Pet Blog Readers,

Hope you had a great weekend.  Let’s get the week started with an article from guest blogger Melanie.  She has a post for us that should help you out if you are trying to decide between getting a rabbit or a guinea pig.  Each of these small pets have their own characteristics and behaviors and their care may suit your personal situation better than the other.  Melanie’s outline of pros and cons should be able to help make your decision a bit easier.  If you have a preference between a rabbit and a guinea pig or if you have a question or comment, please let us know in the comments section below.  Thanks!

 ________________

A first pet is a very important right of passage for your child. Not only does it make a very cute contribution to your family, it teaches your kids responsibility and to love and respect the animal kingdom. That said, having a pet isn’t always easy. They take looking after, feeding, exercising and immunising.

 

If you’re thinking of getting a pet for your child, it’s always good to start with something small and manageable. Two great examples are either guinea pigs or rabbits. Both of these animals are relatively low maintenance and your children should be able to take care of most of the responsibilities involved.

 

Below you will find the pros and cons for each animal, which should help in deciding which to get.

 

RABBITS

Photo uploaded to Flickr by user Robobobobo.

PROS

  • They are small in size and can fit in your children’s hands.
  • They are gentle and not intimidating for children.
  • They feed on dry food, grass and vegetables which is easy to find.
  • They require little or no vaccinations.
  • They are independent and do their own thing.
  • They can exercise in their cage or indoors.
  • They show affection to their owners.
  • They can be litter boxed trained.
  • They can be left to roam.
  • They live 812 years, slightly longer than guinea pigs.

 

CONS

  • They are stubborn animals and training takes time.
  • They can be smelly. Hutches need to be cleaned frequently.
  • They chew everything they come into contact with so home roaming can be a problem.
  • They are susceptible to exposure and in extreme weather may need to stay inside.
  • Finding veterinary help for rabbits can be difficult as it’s uncommon.
  • They poop a lot and everywhere.
  • They will wee on you if given the chance.
  • They are very quick and can be hard to catch when returning them to their cage.
  • They are rapid breeders so be careful if you have more than one.

 

IMG_3686GUINEA PIGS

PROS

  • They are small in size and can fit in your children’s hands.
  • They do not bite and are even more gentle than rabbits.
  • They don’t smell.
  • They don’t breed as quickly as rabbits.
  • They are independent and do their own thing.
  • They can exercise in their cage or indoors.
  • They make adorable squeaking noises.
  • They are very easy to take care of.
  • They live 5 – 8 years, more than smaller rodents.
  • They love to be held for hours and are easy to catch.
  • They have a great temperament.

 

CONS

  • They can be shy at the beginning and run away from you.
  • They require largish cages.
  • Cages need to be cleaned frequently.
  • They can be noisy so best kept outside.
  • They aren’t as simple to feed as rabbits. They need a variety of vegetables, hay, and high quality pellets that you might have to order online.
  • They poop and pee without warning.

 

Author Bio

Melanie is a pet lover and very keen blogger. Over the last few years Melanie has contributed numerous articles on pet care and products.  Melanie is currently working on a new pet blog that should be released soon.

 

Tips for Keeping Your Pet Hydrated – Cheers to Hydration Month!

Water is Essential to Our Pets' Health It’s no secret that your pets need fresh clean drinking water every day for optimum health. It’s also no secret that cats and some dogs are very finicky about, well, pretty much everything! With the warmer weather approaching I want to talk about your pet’s drinking habits.

Water is an essential ingredient to life. All animals need it to help flush out toxins and to keep organs hydrated. Cats especially need to take in an adequate amount of water to prevent kidney problems, most notably kidney stones and kidney failure.

How Much Water
Does My Pet Need?

The amount of water that your pet needs to drink daily depends on his or her weight, activity level, and diet. Dogs are generally pretty good about regulating their water intake. As long as fresh, clean water is provided they will usually drink the amount their body requires. Keep in mind that with the warmer temperatures around the corner, your dog should also be drinking more to stay fully hydrated.

Cats get most of their water intake from their food. In the wild this is not much of an issue since raw meat contains up to 70% water. Dry food, on the other hand, only contains about 10% moisture. Some cats will supplement their food with extra drinking water and others are a little pickier.


Symptoms of
Dehydration in Pets:

    • Sunken Eyes
    • Lethargy
    • Loss of Appetite
    • Dry Mouth
    • Depression

Any sudden change in behavior can be cause for concern. Contact your vet if your pets’ drinking habits change suddenly; if they starting drinking an excessive amount of water, or stop drinking it altogether it could be a sign of a serious illness.

What if I Suspect
Dehydration?

      • Perform the skin test: Gently grab a fold of skin on the back of the neck or between the shoulder blades & release. If the skin snaps back into place, your pet should be okay. If the skin slowly returns to place, your pet could be dehydrated.
      • Have your pet checked by a vet.
      • Provide fresh, clean water daily.
      • Monitor your pet’s water intake, especially in the hot summer months.


Tips for Keeping
Your Pets Hydrated

If you are having trouble getting your pet interested in water there are a few things you can try.

        • Change the type of pet bowl. Some prefer ceramic (lead-free glazed, of course) over metal bowls and vice versa.
        • Try a pet fountain. Clean, fresh, running water might be more enticing for your pet, while others will appreciate the water being filtered (thus tastier) and kept cooler.
        • Change the location of their water dish. Be sure it is far from the litter box and/or out of direct sunlight.
        • Consider adding a wet food to your pet’s diet, or add water to their dry food. Wet cat foods usually contain around 80% water. Just be sure to adjust your portions of dry food to ensure you aren’t over feeding your pet.

Pet Hydration Infographic & Resources Referenced from PetSafe: http://www.petsafe.net/learn/pet-hydration-month

How To Tell If Kittens Are Abandoned

Hello, my name is Tricia K. I currently own 3 cats, Bubba is 5, Firefly (aka Bug) is 3, and Scrappy is 7/8 months old. I have been volunteering for a rescue called “Lost Paws of Lancaster” for about 3 years, fostering for about 2 years. I have worked at That Fish Place – That Pet Place for almost 2 years as a cashier. I enjoy learning new things about all animals and applying what I learn to help others.image

When you volunteer for a cat rescue, the season of spring is more commonly known as “Kitten Season”. This is the time of year that we begin getting phone calls asking us to take in pregnant or nursing moms and their litters of kittens. The more common call, however, is for “abandoned kittens.” I put quotes around it because more often than not the kittens aren’t really abandoned.

Unlike human children, who are rarely without a parent in sight, kittens can be left alone for hours at a time and the mom usually isn’t far off. In fact, mom may even be watching you. People often don’t realize this and tend to automatically assume that mom has left the litter to starve. They then decide to take things into their own hands and “help” which isn’t always in the best interest of the kittens.

 

How To Tell If Kittens Are Abandoned & Need Your Help

  • Unless the kittens are in immediate danger, don’t move them. Mom may just be out getting some dinner, or taking a break. (You’d need to take a breather too if you had so many babies at once!). If you have to move them, make sure it is nearby where mom can see or hear them calling for her.
  • Keep an eye on the nest from a distance for 12 to 18 hours to determine if they’re truly abandoned. Depending on how old the kittens are, moms can stay away for hours at a time. It can be hard to tell if mom slips in and out when you aren’t looking. A way to help tell if the mom has returned is to sprinkle flour around the area. If mom comes back she will leave paw prints in the powder.
  • Don’t be alarmed if some of the kittens go missing. This is probably a good sign. Active Moms will move their kittens from place to place if they feel they are in danger.
  • If hours pass and the babies are dirty, fussy and loud, it is safe to consider them abandoned. It’s important to remember to wait an appropriate amount of time and to stay calm. A lot of people panic and want to scoop the kittens up and care for them right away. However, caring for kittens, especially young ones that don’t eat solid food, is a lot of work that most people aren’t prepared to take on. It is also more dangerous for kittens growing up without a mom and the comfort and milk she provides. Whenever possible, keep mom in the picture.

What if Mom Doesn’t Return? What now?20150502_220009

  • If you have truly abandoned kittens, and you are not prepared to take on the responsibilities of motherhood, feel free to call your local rescues. Please keep in mind that kitten season is a very busy time of year. Rescues exhaust their resources very quickly and you may be declined. Fosters for bottle babies (kittens without mommas that cannot eat solid food yet) are always in short supply because they are a lot of work.
  • If you are able to foster the litter the rescues may have a waiting list that you can be put on to help your kittens and lighten your load.

Even if the rescues can’t take in your litter they may have tips and tricks to make your go at being a momma cat much easier.

This Kitten season, Please be patient and do what you can to help appropriately. While it’s hard to resist a pile of adorable, cuddly kittens, letting Mom handle their care is sometimes the best option.

 

Canine Flu Outbreak 2015 – What to Know

Given the recent reports of the canine flu outbreak in the Chicago area, we wanted to put together a few simple tips for helping to prevent or detect if your dog has the virus.

Q: Where have cases been found so far?

A: There have been over 1,000 cases reported in the Chicago area and a few surrounding states. As of this writing, none have been reported in Pennsylvania

Q: How can I tell if my dog, or if other dogs, have the Dog Flu?

A: The best thing to look for, as with many diseases, is a change in regular behavior. The most common early signs are a hacking cough. Green discharge from the nose or eyes is another symptom. Untreated, these can develop into significant fevers or pneumonia. If you notice any of this, please consult a veterinarian

Q: How can I Help Stop My Dog From Getting Sick?

A: The virus is very contagious. The best thing to do is to avoid potentially exposing your dog to a dog who might be sick.

Q: Can people catch the disease?

A: No, people can not contract the disease from their dogs. They can, however, help spread it through contact with surfaces. For example, the virus can live on surfaces for 24-48 hours. If you pet a dog and then touch a counter top, it is possible to spread the contamination. Washing your hands and sanitizing is always a good idea in these cases.

Q: Has this happened before or is this unusual?

A: Dog Flu outbreaks occur relatively frequently. The fear with this one is that it’s a new strain that dog flu vaccinations may not prevent.
If you have any questions about the Dog Flu – please consult a veterinarian.

If you’d like to read more – please see this article – http://www.petage.com/canine-flu-outbreak-caused-by-new-strain/

Help Find Sophie Is Helping Find Pets in Lancaster County

The author’s posts are entirely his or her own (unless of course they’ve been hypnotized by their pets) and may not always reflect the views of That Fish Place – That Pet Place.

A lost or runaway pet can be a serious and stressful experience.  Since 2012, Help Find Sophie has used their Facebook page to assist Lancaster County residents reunite with their furry friends.  It is important to help because, let’s be honest, even the most responsible pet owner has the occasional “oopsie”.

For the past few weeks, we have wrestled with this great opportunity to spread awareness. How do we, in one small blog, highlight the vast experience and knowledge we have gained in the hundreds of reunions of which we have been a part? We could utilize our word limit by reminding you to lock your dog or secure your leashes. We could also suggest better maintaining your fences.  Or to stop asking the teenage girl from down the street to house sit, when we know she’s more concerned with watching television than your pet, which has already scaled the backyard wall.

Ultimately, we picked three simple actions that we feel are more important than minding that broken fence post that you were SURE Scruffy couldn’t fit through.

 

Three Ways To NOT Lose Your Pet

ID TAGS

Keep the tags on your pet’s collar! Yes, the jingle of that current rabies tag is possibly the most annoying noise you’ve ever heard (specifically at 2am when your cat decides to have a techno dance party with that moth that flew in your window).  But seriously, just do it. Did you know that all vets register those foreign numbers in a database that can be tracked back to you? We are serious…it’s true. Keep your pet’s rabies tag on for bragging rights, too.

hfsUPDATE YOUR INFO

Update if you move. Update if you change your phone number. Update if you have inherited your great uncle John’s Pomeranian after he went to live at Whistling Breeze Retirement Home.  It’s not hard. Just call the chip company. Call your vet. You wouldn’t move without telling the post office where to forward your mail, would you? You wouldn’t leave for a week in Bahamas without setting up your work email to auto-reply, would you? NOPE….so get on the phone and update Scruffy’s contact info.

 

IDENTIFY YOUR PET

And no we don’t mean with the pink collar with sparkly fake diamonds (Any unique collar that could be used to identify your pet could easily slip off while your pet is loose).  But really IDENTIFY your pet with an implanted micro-chip. DO it now! Get up! Heck, you can even stop reading this blog right now….and get your pet micro-chipped. There are clinics in Lancaster County that run specials offering micro-chipping for as low as $25. That’s less than the pizza and wing special that you will probably order for football on Sunday. Micro-chip!–It’s easy. It’s like giving your pet the voice you sometimes wish they had.

Imagine this scenario: Scruffy runs off to check out the new neighbors, who happen to have a new poodle. Scruffy, who may have collected a few briars and encountered a mud puddle or two, looks like a possible stray.  Your new neighbors, unaware of Scruffy’s curious nature, scoop up your little man and assume he needs shelter. Now wouldn’t it be ideal if Scruffy could speak up and say “Hey I’m just here for the poodle, my name is Scruffy and I live down the street??”  Well guess what, Scruffy can’t do this.  And if he can please contact HFS immediately as we would LOVE to meet with you and promise not to exploit your dog for our own profit. ☺ But…just but what if…Scruffy would have a micro-chip? And these new neighbors take him to the local vet and have him scanned?  Scruffy now has a VOICE. He now has an identity. And you will get the phone call that Scruffy is safe and sound hanging out with the poodle up the street.  IT’S THAT EASY.

 

OUR STORYhfsfb

Help Find Sophie was started in 2012. It was created after a beautiful boxer named Sophie went missing in our county. In a matter of days the number of likes topped a hundred. Lancaster Contains were out in groups, searching for this sweet girl as if she was their own. The number of concerned people that answered the call for help was overwhelming.  Unfortunately Sophie did not have a happy ending and she passed away after being hit by a car. For several weeks the site went untouched and the community mourned. Then, requests started coming in. Other Lancaster County residents began asking to post info about their lost pet. Little by little the page grew. Sophie was in everyone’s thoughts as each reunion unfolded.  She became the legacy. Members often asked, “Sophie please help lead my friend home,” or told us, “Sophie was watching out for this pup.”  So how could the page be deleted?  Hundreds of followers became thousands.  New members joined each day, some who needed help searching and others who wanted to offer their time to help search. Help Find Sophie became more than just a Facebook page looking for Sophie but now a family of members who will look out for each other. Friendships have been made. A small portion of our faith in humanity is restored every time we hear that member is out at 4am searching for a missing dog. Or that another member has rented traps to catch a cat that has been on the run for a week.

 

IS HELP FIND SOPHIE HERE TO SAY?

Well the honest answer is we hope not. We hope every single pet owner takes our advice. We would love to meet up with similar animal lovers for a cup of coffee instead of reading emails and scrolling through the pictures of the pets that are missing. We would much rather get to know you at the dog park instead of saying hi as we try to coax your German shepherd out of a corn field with a piece of cheese. We would love to focus our time and passion on educating and fellowship. And truth be told our husbands would most likely appreciate a conversation that wasn’t centered on “another” missing pet. ☺

So please please Spay, Neuter, Microchip!!!!

I can’t do EVERYTHING but I can do SOMETHING and TOGETHER we can make a difference in the life of a pet.

 

A full list of helpful tips can be found on the Help Find Sophie Facebook Page. Like us! This blog did not mention the importance of spay and neuter because come-on…you guys are smart. You don’t need us to tell you that there are plenty of friends who need homes.

 

helpfindsophie

 

 

Dogs in Politics Day – Fun Facts About First Dogs

Besides Presidents, their First Ladies and children, dogs have resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as well.  It is no wonder that dog ownership is so high amongst the Presidential club.  Unlike their political foes and “allies”, dogs provide loyal companionship that isn’t dependent upon the latest Gallup Poll or focus group.

 

Presidential dogs have often endeared themselves to the electorate.  In honor of Dogs in Politics Day, here are the top five facts about first dogs:

 

5. George Washington’s Foxhounds

The first President had 36 dogs.  George Washington’s favorite breeds were hounds and he used them extensively on fox hunts.  The Father of Our Country, Washington can also be considered the Father of the American Foxhound.  Washington bred his hounds with the French variety, creating a new breed that survives today.

gwfoxhunting1 (1)

4. James Buchanan’s Newfy

Besides being the only bachelor to have become President, James Buchanan had the heaviest dog to ever occupy the Whitehouse.  Lara, a Newfoundland, was 170 lbs.  Perhaps that was the reason he remained a bachelor.

3. FDR’s Scotty

The only dog to have a statue in a national monument is Fala, FDR’s Scottish Terrier. The statue of Fala is a fixture in the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.

2. George W Bush’s Internet Sensations!

Barney and Miss Beazley, First dogs of George W Bush, were the first presidential dogs to have their own website.

july_08

 

1. Abe’s First Fido

The name Fido is a stereotypical generic name for a dog.  But why is that?  Fido has a Latin base meaning “I trust” or faithful one.  The President who came up with that name for his dog was none other than Abraham Lincoln, one of our most beloved Presidents.
Fido-Lincolns-dog-300x207

What Healthy Guinea Pigs Should Be Eating

Hi Pet Blog Readers!

It’s finally Friday, but before we get to the weekend we have a guest blog from Richard. He has written an informative post detailing what your pet guinea pig needs for a healthy diet. Your furry friend has important dietary needs and you are the one to help them fill those needs! If you have any questions or comments please let us know, they are always welcome! Have a great weekend!

________________________________________

 

GuineaPigA guinea pig’s diet is fairly simple. In the beginning, owners just need to follow some guidelines and test out different treats when their pet first arrives. The diet of the guinea pig should be made up of fresh fruits, vegetables, commercialized pellets and timothy hay.

Fruits & Veggies

A proper diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, but in moderation. If you give your guinea pig too much, they will probably have diarrhea, which is potentially very dangerous to your pet’s health if it persists.

Try out different types of fruits or veggies to see which your pet likes the most. After you’ve found a few, stick to those in their diet. Some I would highly recommend include: apples, kale, spinach, carrots, blueberries, peaches and tangerines. It’s okay to switch out a few every now and then, but always research first to see if they can actually eat it.

Here are some foods that you need to keep away from your pig: iceberg lettuce, corn, potatoes, chocolate, “human treats” and raw beans. Don’t just stick to this list alone, there are many other foods they should avoid. Remember to always do your research first.

Timothy Hay241888

Probably the most popular Cavy food, Timothy hay should make up the majority of your guinea pig’s diet. Yes, you heard right. Your pet can eat the same Timothy hay that is recommended as bedding for guinea pig cages.

Now, if you plan on using Timothy hay for your bedding as well, I would get a hayrack to clear up any confusion for your pet. You want to separate hay that is used as bedding from hay that is used for eating. Make it clear to them by putting treats or pellets inside the hayrack mixed-in with the hay. That way, they’ll know food belongs in that rack.

In the previous section, I mentioned that too many fruits or vegetables could cause diarrhea. If that happens, simply increase your pig’s intake of Timothy hay and it should go away. This is because this type of hay helps with digestion.

Commercial Food Pellets

When looking into food pellets at your local pet store, find a product that is 20% protein and 16% fiber. Also, make sure to look for Vitamin C in these products.

Guinea pigs need Vitamin C because, like humans, they can’t produce any themselves. A lack of vitamin will surely lead to health problems in the future. If you can’t find pellets with any, just buy them tablets and feed them about 10mg per day.

Do not feed them multi-vitamins, as excess in the other vitamins can potentially be dangerous to them.

When to Feed Them

When you first start feeding your guinea pig, pick a time that is convenient for you. You want to get them in the habit of eating food at a certain hour of the day. These critters depend on a set schedule and will often make some sort of commotion if that schedule is broken. Try your best to not be more than an hour early or late when it comes to their diet schedule.

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Just follow these simple guidelines and you’ll have a diet plan designed for a healthy piggy. I also want to note that these diet plan tips can be applied to all guinea pig breeds. And remember, when in doubt, research to see if your pet is allowed to eat it. The last thing you’d want is to poison your new friend.

Richard James has been caring for guinea pigs for over 15 years. He is the author of the care guide, “Guinea Pig Care Made Easy,” which has helped many owners raise a healthy pet. He currently owns 3 guinea pigs: 2 Silkies and 1 Peruvian. Check out his website for more valuable information about caring for Guinea Pigs.

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